Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen were both uber criticial of the defensive efforts of Liverpool as Real Madrid administered a crushing 3-1 win in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
The Reds have it all to do in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final after a 3-1 defeat. Vinicius Junior scored twice on Tuesday, with Marco Asensio netting in between. However, Madrid often made Jurgen Klopp’s side pay from mistakes from Trent Alexander-Arnold, among others.
Indeed, Alexander-Arnold was culpable for Madrid’s second – his wayward header putting it on a plate for Asensio. Despite that, both Owen and Ferdinand felt the first goal was key. As such the duo gave a tough appraisal for both Alisson Becker and Nat Phillips.
“The Arsenal game definitely fooled me into believing this is the Liverpool of old,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“I think they’ve made mistakes all over the place, especially in defence. They’ve been punished by this Real Madrid team.”
Former Liverpool striker Owen said: “He [Kroos] picked out both passes. Too much time on the ball, too much time to get his head up and then you’ve got pace running in behind.
“Liverpool are playing a reasonably high line. From Madrid’s point of view, it’s an unbelievable ball and that’s what you get. It’s very basic, I’ll let Rio take the defensive side…
“I think Alisson, actually, was quite far out because he was trying to cut out the ball over the top. He couldn’t get back quickly enough because I actually think he’s a couple of yards out. Too close to the ball there, but he couldn’t do much about it.”
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Ferdinand added: “If he [Nat Phillips] takes a drop there, he can see Vinicius’ run there. But he goes in line with his centre-back partner and that’s the worst thing you can do when there’s someone of that quality on the ball.
“His eyes are up, he’s telling you he’s going to play it forward. You have to drop at that point there when there’s no pressure on the ball, both centre-backs don’t do that and they get punished.”
Ferdinand bemoans missed chance for Liverpool
After the game both Owen gave his verdict on Liverpool’s performance and felt they let themselves down.
“It’s disappointing,” Owen said. “I thought it was a disappointing performance overall.
“They can do it still, they’ve got the players to do it, this isn’t a vintage Madrid team, but it’s just Liverpool aren’t on top form at the minute.
“We did question before the game, was the Arsenal win a flicker of light, the resurgence of this team, but on that evidence, they’ve still got a long way to go, but they’ve got to find something and there have been miracles at Anfield before.”